Civilization IV

Review

posted 12/28/2005 by Tyler Sager
other articles by Tyler Sager
One Page Platforms: PC
Cities themselves have received a huge overhaul as well. No longer do City improvements themselves cause a drain on the entire civilization’s economy. Instead, each City has a Maintenance cost, dependent on the size of the city, distance from the Capitol, and a few other conditions. Civilization veterans will find that it is much more difficult to maintain a sprawling, several-dozen-city empire, as Maintenance ramps up quickly as the number of cities increase. Happiness is once again an issue in Civilization IV, and unhappy workers can become quite a burden on society. Open revolts are no longer an issue, but it can quickly come to pass that cities become so unhappy that it’s often easier to simply give them to a neighboring Civ rather than deal with the huge financial drain. Thankfully, the dreaded Pollution is no longer an issue in Civilization IV. Instead, each city has a Health rating, which is negatively affected by nearby jungles, flood plains, and environmentally-unsound City Improvements. As health degenerates, cities produce less and less food, ultimately resulting in starvation and population loss. Positive Health points come from Forests, access to resources such as Cows, Pigs, Rice, and Wheat, as well as health-boosting City Improvements such as the Aqueduct or Hospital.

Wonders are still a vital part of Civilization IV, and there are a wide variety to choose from. These mega-buildings can impart game-altering bonuses at a very steep production cost. Many of the old favorites are back, but most have received a change in abilities. Certain resources, such as Stone and Marble, now allow some of the wonders to be completed more quickly. In addition, the Great Engineer unit can hurry production of many of the Wonders, giving a huge leg-up in the often tense Wonder race.

Speaking of Great Engineers, Civilization IV boasts a total of 5 Great People units. The rate at which these special units appear in a given city is increased by certain Wonders, city buildings, and Civic settings. Each of these Great People can have profound effects on the Civilization. Great People can be used to instantly research a Technology, or they can be added to a city as a Super Specialist citizen, providing a large boost to Commerce, Production, or Culture. In addition, each Great Person can provide other benefits. Great Engineers, for example, can hurry production on Wonder buildings. Great Artists can create a Great Work, instantly giving a huge boost of culture to a city, often quickly expanding the city’s influence and borders and setting up a “culture bomb”. Great Scientists can construct Academies, providing a large Research boost. Great Merchants can run across the map to far away town, giving a large one-time Commerce bonus. And finally, Great Prophets can construct a Shrine in a city that founds a religion, brining that Civilization bonus commerce for each and every city in the world that has adopted that particular faith.

Religion plays a very big role in Civilization IV. There are seven world religions available for discovery, although each is completely identical as far as game effect goes. Founding a religion is done simply by being the first Civilization to research a particular Technology. Once this is done, provided the Civ’s Civic allows it, the religion begins spreading throughout the Civ and eventually throughout the world. Religions spread on their own, or through the work of Missionary units. Players are able to adopt a particular religion as a State Religion, gaining various bonuses depending on the current Civic choice. In addition to allowing for the construction of culture-producing buildings like Temples and Monasteries, Religions also play an important role in diplomacy. Neighboring Civs are more likely to be friendly when sharing a common religion.

Civics are the Civilization IV answer to government. Rather than locking into one particular government style, there are now five different Civics, each with several different options, to choose from. For example, players may choose to get their Religion Civic at Theocracy, to increase building speed for those cities that embrace the state religion, or they may instead choose to embrace Freedom of Religion, increasing happiness for every Religion in a particular city. The Labor Civic can be set to Serfdom, Slavery, or Caste System, or Emancipation, depending on the strategy needed. Each Civic choice comes with a corresponding upkeep cost, so the “best” Civics can quickly drain an unprepared economy. Civics become available as various Technologies are researched, and it’s usually quite a powerful strategy to beeline research toward the more powerful governing styles.
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